Master Lists for Best Books of the Year: Deadly Pleasures Magazine’s Master List of Best Mysteries, Crime Novels & Thrillers of 2020 analyzed 50 Best of the Year lists, and reveals that WINTER COUNTS was ranked #2 as the most mentioned crime novel of 2020 on critics’ annual best book lists. The Rap Sheet also compiled a list of top critics and notes that WINTER COUNTS was ranked #4 for best book of the year in 2020.
French edition released: Gallmeister Editions released the French version, titled JUSTICE INDIENNE, on January 7, 2021. The novel received a rave review in Le Journal du Dimanche. Le Figaro said, “It is this mix between a dive into the life of a reserve and a story full of suspense that makes Justice Indienne an unusual and exciting thriller.”
NPR Best Books of 2020: NPR lists WINTER COUNTS as one of the best books of the year.
Library Journal Best Books of 2020: Library Journal names WINTER COUNTS as one of the best books of 2020.
Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2020: Publishers Weekly names WINTER COUNTS as one of the best books of the year.
Amazon Best Books of 2020: Amazon lists WINTER COUNTS as one of the 100 Best Books of 2020 and also one of the top 20 Mystery and Thrillers.
Air Mail Best Mystery Novels of 2020: Air Mail lists WINTER COUNTS as one of the best eight mystery novels of the year.
Sun Sentinel Best Mystery Books of 2020: Oline Cogdill, in the Sun Sentinel, names WINTER COUNTS as one of the Best Debut Mysteries of 2020.
BOLO Books Top Reads of 2020: Kristopher Zgorski selects WINTER COUNTS as a Top Read and Top Debut Novel of 2020 in BOLO Books.
Deadly Pleasures Best Books of 2020: George Easter names WINTER COUNTS as a Best Book of 2020 in Deadly Pleasures magazine.
CrimeReads Best Noir Fiction of the Year: CrimeReads names WINTER COUNTS as one of the ten best crime noir novels of 2020.
CrimeReads Best Debut Novels of the Year: CrimeReads lists WINTER COUNTS as one of the ten best debut novels of 2020.
CrimeReads Notable Selection: CrimeReads includes WINTER COUNTS as a Notable Selection for Best Crime Novel of the year.
Best book lists: Kellye Garrett, mystery columnist for Goodreads, lists WINTER COUNTS as one of the 10 best crime books of the year. Tribal College Journal names WINTER COUNTS as one of the best Native books of the year. SheReads lists the book as a Best BIPOC Debut Novel of 2020. Rob Hart at LitReactor named WINTER COUNTS one of the best books of 2020. The United Kingdom magazine Crime Time listed the novel as one of the best of the year in their 2020 Vision panel. The Buzz Magazine names the novel as a best book of the year. Book Riot’s Read or Dead podcast included the novel in their Favorite Books of 2020 list. CulturMag named the novel in their 2020 Highlights article. MysteryPeople named WINTER COUNTS as one of the 10 best books of the year.
Articles, posts, and blogs: SleuthSayers reviews WINTER COUNTS and says that the novel is “something new in the genre.” Musician Jeff Ament of the band Pearl Jam mentions WINTER COUNTS as one of his two favorite books of 2020.
Goodreads Choice Awards: WINTER COUNTS was nominated for Best Mystery & Thriller and also Best Debut Novel in the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards, and advanced to the Semifinal round in both categories.
Book of the Year: Book of the Month Club includes WINTER COUNTS as one of the 20 nominations for Book of the Year.
L.A. Times Holiday Gift Pick: The L.A. Times lists WINTER COUNTS as one of 20 of “the most engaging, funniest and most urgent [books] of the year” in its list of recommendations for books that people like to receive as gifts.
Large print edition: WINTER COUNTS will be published by Wheeler/Thorndike in a large print edition in March, 2021.
A Year in Reading: David discusses which books he read in 2020 in The Millions article, “A Year in Reading: David Heska Wanbli Weiden.”
Book Riot Read Harder 2021 Challenge: Book Riot lists WINTER COUNTS as one of the books for its Read Harder 2021 Challenge.
Holiday gift recommendations: Westword magazine recommends WINTER COUNTS for gift giving: “If you’re thinking of this as a gift for someone, do yourself a favor and buy two: You’ll want to keep one for your own shelf.” The Buzz Magazine in Houston recommends WINTER COUNTS in its holiday gift guide.
Interviews and features: Conversations with Gabino Iglesias in Show Me Your Shelves and Steven Wingate in Fiction Writers Review. BuzzFeed asks David about the book he’s most thankful for. The Seminole Tribune interviews David. BuzzFeed interviews David about WINTER COUNTS, Native issues, and music. Bookbub discusses WINTER COUNTS in their article, “9 Chilly Winter Page-Turners.” CrimeReads discusses the novel in their article, “The Vigilantes of the Oppressed.” The Colorado Sentinel gives the book a rave review and notes that it is “a much-needed addition to the canon of Native American literature.”
New York Times article: The New York Times, in an article on Native Americans and Thanksgiving, notes that “Tommy Orange, a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations of Oklahoma, and David Heska Wanbli Weiden, an enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota Nation, are two of the most critically acclaimed young novelists working now.”
LitHub review: LitHub reviews WINTER COUNTS and the audiobook and says that the novel is “a finely constructed thriller, but Winter Counts, like Weiden’s characters, has far more on its mind than crime and punishment.”
BuzzFeed Book Club; AWP Book Club; Mystery Prize: The BuzzFeed Book Club has chosen WINTER COUNTS as their November selection, as has the Association of Writers and Writing Programs for their Virtual Book Club. The novel was nominated for the 2021 Beltie Mystery Prize.
BOLO Books review: Kristopher Zgorski reviews WINTER COUNTS in BOLO Books: “[A]n instantly-iconic crime fiction protagonist; Winter Counts is one of the best debut novels of 2020 and launches a career that is sure to alter the course of the genre.”
Deadly Pleasures review: George Easter reviews WINTER COUNTS and gives it a rating of A-. “The characters are warm and the storyline top-notch. An added bonus (and it’s a big one) is gaining an exposure to the Lakota way of life with its traditional values and reservation hardships.”
Sun Sentinel review: Oline Cogdill gave WINTER COUNTS a rave review in the South Florida Sun Sentinel: “‘Winter Counts’ is elevated by Weiden’s forceful writing, affinity for complex, realistic characters and attention to cultural touchstones. . . . [O]ne of the year’s strongest debuts . . . ”
Rave review of audiobook in Washington Post: The Washington Post names WINTER COUNTS as one of the best audiobooks of the season. “The story, rich in Lakota lore and traditions, is leavened by wry observations and humor, not least in the person of Virgil’s friend, Tommy, a loyal but aimless fellow. His good cheer is rendered with perfect timing by narrator Darrell Dennis, who has Indigenous roots himself and is, as it happens, a comedian. He delivers the entire narration wonderfully, but his Tommy takes the gold.”
New York Times Editors’ Choice: The New York Times named WINTER COUNTS as an Editors’ Choice in the Times Book Review, calling it a “gritty, gripping thriller.” NYTBR10.4-Winter CountswImage (1)
New York Times: The New York Times says WINTER COUNTS is a “sizzling new thriller.” The review notes that the book is “written with a light touch and a good deal of humor . . . and sobering truths about Native American life.”
Best audiobook: Book Riot lists WINTER COUNTS as one of the best audiobooks to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Reviews: Crime Time and Mystery Scene give WINTER COUNTS strong reviews. Electric Literature recommends the book as an example of a novel with a BIPOC main character. The Literary Voyeur says the novel is “an intense and moving contemporary crime novel . . . Weiden [is] a major new voice in literary crime fiction.”
Holiday gift guide: Publishers Weekly names WINTER COUNTS as a top recommendation for holiday gifts.
New Colorado canon: 5280 magazine names SPOTTED TAIL as part of the new “New Colorado Canon” of books.
Interviews: Bloom interviews David and says that WINTER COUNTS is “an exploration of contemporary Lakota society and how federal policies and the attitudes of White America toward Native Americans continue to impoverish Native communities, rendering them vulnerable to the violence and drugs that Virgil combats. On a micro but extrapolative level, it’s about one man negotiating the ghosts of his past and the cynicism they have bequeathed, while searching for a reason to be hopeful for the sake of his nephew, for his people, and for himself.” Law360 interviews David about combining legal and political issues with a dramatic narrative. Campaign for the American Reader talks to David about movies and the “page 69 test.”
Vol. 1 Brooklyn: Vol. 1 Brooklyn gives the novel a rave review: “Winter Counts is a book that demands to be read not just because it’s engaging, but because it matters. The result is a novel that will satisfy those looking for the adrenaline of crime fiction and thrillers, . . . and those who want to enjoy all that with a deeper layer of meaning, a more nuanced narrative. . .”
Reviews: Lisa Henricksson in Air Mail says “Winter Counts is one of this year’s most significant crime-fiction debuts. . . Winter Counts takes on a plainspoken lyricism that serves as a tender counterpoint to the low-level misery he’s trying to transcend.” Jay Strafford in the Fredricksburg Free Lance-Star says, “With knife-sharp narrative skills, Weiden creates a shrewd and serpentine plot. And while he entertains, he simultaneously educates about past and present Native American life.” Crime Fiction Lover magazine says, “Winter Counts is equal parts hardboiled mystery, coming-of-age story and a fascinating picture of native American life and culture. . . . In a strong summer for thrillers, Winter Counts stands out.”
Book of the Month Club main selection: WINTER COUNTS is a main selection of the Book of the Month Club for September.
Washington Post: The Washington Post says “‘Winter Counts’ hits the sweet spot between gritty thriller and social novel” in a rave review.
Book clubs: WINTER COUNTS has been chosen by a number of book clubs: Read a Book! With Kara (Kara Brown); Reading Corner; Jordy’s Book Club; Indigenous Book Club; KGNU and Boulder Bookstore Radio Bookclub, 305 Book Club, and numerous private book clubs.
Tattered Cover, The Strand, and Poisoned Pen bookstores: The Tattered Cover bookstore chain in Colorado selects WINTER COUNTS as their September Book of the Month. The Strand Book Store in New York selected WINTER COUNTS as their choice for their Book HookUp subscription program. The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Arizona chose the novel as their pick for their Crime Book-of-the-Month Club.
Best reviewed book: Book Marks lists WINTER COUNTS as one of the five best reviewed novels of the week.
USA Today, SF Chronicle, BookPage: USA Today says, “Winter Counts is a compelling read and an insightful perspective on identity and power in America.” The SF Chronicle notes, “Winter Counts is a riveting yet soulful reimagining of hard-boiled crime fiction for an era in which systemic rot seems to be routinely uncovered.” BookPage notes the novel’s “well-rendered, emotionally charged characters.”
Los Angeles Times: The L.A. Times says, “Winter Counts is a once-in-a-generation thriller, an unforgettable debut set in and around South Dakota’s Rosebud Indian Reservation that brims with complex characters, believable conflicts and an urgent message about Native culture, inequities and criminal justice. . . . Propulsive.”
National Book Festival: SPOTTED TAIL has been chosen as the official selection for the state of South Dakota at the 2020 National Book Festival sponsored by the Library of Congress.
Denver Post: The Denver Post (8/23/2020) says, “Denver author David Heska Wanbli Weiden writes about Virgil with sympathy and understanding. . . It’s a book only an insider could write.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune review: The Star Tribune says, “A tale of drugs and violence on the Rosebud Reservation is also a celebration of reviving Lakota traditions. . . A knowing, revealing look at life on a reservation. . . The spirit, joy, pride and resilience of Native people also comes through these pages: respect for elders, the hunger for education and meaningful work, a growing interest in Lakota language, customs and traditions.”
Entertainment Weekly: Entertainment Weekly interviews David about the writing of WINTER COUNTS, which book makes him cry, and his favorite snack.
Indie Next List/Great Reads September selection: The American Booksellers Association has chosen WINTER COUNTS for its September list. “Weiden’s book is a thriller with an important social and political message. Following a Lakota ‘enforcer’ who enacts extrajudicial punishment to fill the gaps in the legal system, Winter Counts is a twisty new addition to the growing Indigenous literature canon.”
Amazon Best Books of August: Amazon lists WINTER COUNTS as one of the 12 best books of August, and states in the review: “Thought-provoking and suspenseful, uplifting and heartbreaking, moving and brutal, Winter Counts is a thriller that delivers so much more than the word thriller promises.”
Podcasts: Listen to David on Writer Types podcast.
Oprah: O, The Oprah Magazine recommends WINTER COUNTS as a best book of the season. “In his assured debut novel, David Heska Wanbli Weiden melds the gritty realism of Dashiell Hammett with the lyricism of Tommy Orange.”
Apple Books–Best Books of August: Apple Books selected WINTER COUNTS as one of the 19 best books of August, and the book is now available for pre-order from the Apple Books app. Their review notes, “We were instant fans of the tough but scrupulously ethical Virgil, who is well aware that he’s neither a good guy nor a bad guy. Weiden paints a vivid portrait of contemporary Lakota life, with all the pride and struggle that come with it. This striking background color makes Winter Counts and its slam-bang conclusion hit even harder.”
Lists: Salon mentions WINTER COUNTS as a “must-read” book. Time magazine lists WINTER COUNTS as a “best new book to read in August.” Observer lists the novel as one of “5 Most Anticipated Books” in August. Popsugar says WINTER COUNTS is “An Incredible New Book.” Debutiful and Vol. 1 Brooklyn include the novel in their August recommendations. Library Journal notes it as a “Summer/Fall Best Debut Novel.” Book Riot recommends WINTER COUNTS as one of 10 “Small-Town Thrillers to Read This Summer.” Caroline Leavitt in AARP magazine recommends the book as a “remarkably accomplished debut.” Mystery Tribune notes the novel as a best thriller of the month.
Interview: 5280 magazine interviews David about Native crime fiction and growing up in Denver.
“Fresh take on the crime thriller”: Shelf Awareness (July 30) gives a rave review of WINTER COUNTS: “The setting of Winter Counts offers an important and overlooked glimpse at the particular challenges faced by Native Americans, especially concerning crime and justice. . . Tightly paced, compelling, realistic and deeply felt, Winter Counts offers a fresh take on the crime thriller.”
Hot book of the summer: The Washington Post includes WINTER COUNTS as one of “Ten books to read in August.” Shondaland mentions WINTER COUNTS as one of the 15 hottest books of the summer. Dandelion Chandelier lists the novel as a “best new summer thriller.” CrimeReads says that WINTER COUNTS is a “Novel You Should Read This August.”
Major Crimes Act essay: The New York Times publishes David’s essay on criminal justice in Indian Country.
Writers to Watch: Publishers Weekly lists David as a “Writer to Watch” in Fall 2020.
Interview: Westword magazine interviews David about WINTER COUNTS, growing up in Denver, and which people–living or dead–he’d invite to a dinner party.
Lists: Book Marks includes WINTER COUNTS in the list of “Most Anticipated Books by Indigenous Authors.” They say that WINTER COUNTS is “a character-driven story about the meaning of justice in a colonialist country.” Electric Lit includes the novel in their list of “Most Anticipated Debuts for the Second Half of 2020.” Betches includes WINTER COUNTS on their “Summer Reading List.”
Buzzfeed’s list of summer thrillers: Buzzfeed includes WINTER COUNTS in the list of “new thrillers you need to add to your summer reading list.”
Starred, boxed review from Publishers Weekly, June 29 issue: “Weiden combines funny, complex, and unforgettable characters with strong, poetic prose… This is crime fiction at its best.”
USA Today: USA Today mentions WINTER COUNTS as a “new book you won’t want to miss.”
The Rumpus list of most anticipated books: The Rumpus includes WINTER COUNTS as one of the most anticipated books for the second half of 2020.
Rave review from Library Journal, June 1 issue: “Weiden’s series launch sheds much-needed light on the legal and societal barriers facing Native Americans while also delivering a suspenseful thriller that builds to a bloody climax. A worthy addition to the burgeoning canon of indigenous literature.”
Buzzfeed’s best books of the summer: Buzzfeed includes WINTER COUNTS in the list of books “You Won’t Be Able to Put Down” for summer 2020. “It’s an absolutely riveting page-turner, compelling not only for the mystery at its core, but also for its piercing criticism of US (mis)treatment of Native populations.”
Most anticipated crime books: CrimeReads includes WINTER COUNTS as a most-anticipated book of summer 2020 and notes that it’s “one of 2020’s most exciting debut novels. . .”
Great review from Read or Dead podcast: Episode 78, “The Quarantine Doldrums,” of the crime fiction book review podcast features a rave review of WINTER COUNTS, starting at minute 45:00.
Brad Meltzer recommends WINTER COUNTS as one of the top thrillers of the year in Parade magazine.
Rave review of WINTER COUNTS from BOOKLIST:
A “revelatory debut crime novel propelled by vital and affecting Native American characters facing the endless repercussions of the genocidal past, ongoing racism and injustice, and cruel betrayals within their besieged community. Suspenseful, gritty, gruffly endearing, and resonant . . . ”
SPOTTED TAIL reviewed in The Roundup: “Not only is Spotted Tail well researched and informative, this powerful book is visually bold and engaging . . . Highly recommended for all ages.”
SPOTTED TAIL wins Spur Award from Western Writers of America.
AWP Mentor: David serves as Mentor for indigenous writers through Association of Writers & Writing Programs.
Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith:
Native Voice: David Heska Wanbli Weiden on Writing Inclusive Books For Kids
SPOTTED TAIL named as a finalist in Juvenile Literature for the Colorado Book Awards.
Publishers Weekly lists WINTER COUNTS as one of the top debut mystery and thrillers of the year.
Book Riot names WINTER COUNTS as one of the must-read thrillers of the year.
Podcast: Interview with David at the 2020 Public Library Association conference in Nashville.
New essay, “How Much Indian are You,” shortlisted for Briarpatch Magazine Writing in the Margins contest.
Crime Reads lists WINTER COUNTS as a new series to watch for.
New nonfiction essay, “Carlisle Longings,” published in Shenandoah magazine: read it here.
Interview with David on Colorado Public Radio about WINTER COUNTS:
“David Heska Wanbli Weiden of Denver delves into barriers to justice for Native Americans in his upcoming novel Winter Counts.” Listen here.
Library Journal lists WINTER COUNTS as one of the most anticipated books of 2020.
Tin House Scholars: Tin House Summer Workshop names David as a 2019 Scholar.
PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship: David named as one of the inaugural Fellows.
PEN Ten interview: PEN America interviews Writing for Justice Fellows.
MacDowell Colony Fellow: David awarded 2018 summer fellowship at the MacDowell Colony.